A Travellerspoint blog

July 2015

Hike

Today, I went on a short hike relatively close to Karmiel. Nearby, up the hill to Kammun, there is another little village called Michmanim. I hiked the path that circles the top of the mountain. The path is a bit rocky, but relatively flat in terms of elevation There aren't a lot of trees for shade, but that also means that there aren't a lot of trees blocking the view across the valley and over to other mountains. From the top, we were able to see over to Sahnin and even farther. It's a nice, easy hike, recommended for those who want good views, but not a long or grueling trek.

the hike

the hike

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Kiryat Shmona Park

Today, I met a friend in Kiryat Shmona. We met in the city, and walked through one of the parks. The park was so wooded and secluded that I had thought we left the city, but we hadn't. It was a short, pleasant walk to the Azriel "River," and it made me feel like I was engulfed in nature. The creek itself was deep enough for there to be lots of tiny little fish. When we stopped at a water hole and hopped in, all the little fish came up to our feet and we got a free trip to one of those "fish spas" where the fish eat off the dead skin. It was pretty pleasant, as long as they stayed low. They tickled when they were on the calves. The water was very cool and refreshing, and I was completely calmed by the serene setting. There's not anything to do there, and the pool isn't big enough for a swim, but it was nice to take a dip. The hot walk back was made even more pleasant because I was still a little wet from jumping in. We walked through a well-manicured park with an old fort or armory of some sort, and then grabbed some good shakshuka at this little anarchist bar/coffee shop in the middle of town. It's a cute place that I recommend as a hangout spot. I wouldn't make a trip up just for the park or the coffee shop, but if you're looking for something to do while you're already here, it's a pleasant start to the day.

Kiryat Shmona Creek

Kiryat Shmona Creek


Water Hole in Kiryat Shmona

Water Hole in Kiryat Shmona

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Israel Museum

I woke up this morning well rested, relaxed, and ready to relax further. One reason I switched hotels to something nicer than what I usually stay in is because I just wanted to enjoy a bit of AC and luxury. Another is that they had a pretty full breakfast. The last was that I wanted to use their pool. The pool is on the roof, which unfortunately means that there are a lot of pigeons that frequent the area. The area surrounding the pool was pretty covered in pigepn droppings, which wasn't so pleasant. However, the water was clean and I enjoyed floating around in the pool for a while. I was very relaxed. After a while though, a bunch of loud kids came. The pool is not big enough for laps and is not big enough for rowdy kids and relaxing adults, so I left and let the kids have their fun. Besides, I had achieved the state of relaxation I wanted, and was ready to go do something. One other reason I had picked a hotel at that end of town was because it is near the Israel museum, which is open on Saturdays and which I had never visited. The walk to the museum was hot, but. Was visually pleasant, as I walked through a large park. There weren't a lot of trees or shade, but families were out en force, enjoying what little there was and picnicking in the park. At one point, I wanted to make sure I was heading the correct way, so I asked a guy to confirm my directions. This led to quite an interesting conversation. He was ultra-orthodox religious, so despite the heat, he was wearing a black suit. However, he was still willing to speak to me. When I asked him for directions, he first asked me if the museum was open on Saturdays. Yes, that's why I was headed there. At that point, he told me (politely) that he wouldn't give me directions because he couldn't enable me spending money on the Sabbath. I told him that it's not my tradition not to spend money on the Sabbath, but that I respect his, and that I'd go find somebody else to give me directions. On the one hand, I respect that he doesn't want to enable what he sees as a sin. On the other hand, I was clearly going there anyway and clearly have different beliefs than him, so maybe he could respect my lifestly choices too. It's a hard question, as I know I'd give somebody directions to a McDonalds, even if that person were to commit the "sin in my eyes" of eating a burger that's horrible for the planet, but I wouldn't give those directions if they were going to go bomb the McDonalds or something. I guess he just happens to see the "sin" as a much bigger deal than many people would. In any case, there were plenty of other people around to get directions from and I was on the right track.

The museum itself is huge. Not Louvre huge, but still huge. It contained a wide variety of exhibitions on everything from ancient artifacts to how people celebrate birthdays.

Because so many different nations conquered and lived in this area, they had a very wide variety of artifacts. They did a great job of using those in concert with replica displays and art to capture what life would have been like back then. Some of the subjects (like ancient Rome and Greece or French pre-revolution) are standard museum fare, but most of it wasn't stuff like what I've seen before. One of the sections I enjoyed a lot was the area where they reconstructed synagogues from all over the world inside the museum. They rescued Polish, Caribbean, Asian, and other synagogues to be recreated here. They even had sand in the Carribean one, and it really brought me back there for a few minutes. Overall, I have to say that the museum was definitely worth the trip. It was a nice, air-conditioned way to spend several hours learning. It was interesting for all ages and priced appropriately.

The Shrine of the Book is also near the Israel Museum. It looks like a big nipple sticking up in the air, but it contains the Dead Sea scrolls and an interesting display about how them. I learned where they were found and how they were read. It's free, so it's certainly worth the price. Plus, I thought the history there was interesting.

Park in Jerusalem

Park in Jerusalem


Shrine of the Book

Shrine of the Book

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Lions and tigers and dinosaurs?

I spent the night at the Jerusalem Little Hotel, just to try something different. I wanted my own room and a good night's sleep, because this week was a little rough at work. The hotel check-in was at the partner hostel (Jerusalem Hostel, logo a lion) a few doors down, but it was short and easy to get between the two. I was happy I didn't have a lot of stuff to haul up the stairs, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room. The only thing that was lacking was AC, but they had a fan that did a pretty good job of keeping the room comfortable. I would stay here again if I needed an inexpensive place and wanted to be alone. In the morning, I went to the kotel for Women of the Wall services, and then got on a bus. I had some time and no specific plans (other than eventually coming across the Botanical Gardens) so I just wanted to see the city. I figured that riding random buses was a relatively cheap, air-conditioned way of doing that. So, I got a ticket that allowed a lot of transfers within a 90 minute (I think) time frame, and just rode. I rode up and down the city, through street fairs, religious neighborhoods, and artsy-looking areas. I saw all sorts of people, and rode down streets I had never seen before. In the end, I was at the central bus stop. I asked the information desk which bus to take to the botanical gardens, and took it. It put me relatively near where my map had said the Botanical Gardens are. Except, the entrance that was actually open was about a km away. Thanks information lady. I walked in the heat, which was getting to be too much at this point, but then I saw that a lot of the people living on that street had grape vines that were overhanging the path. "How refreshing that would be!" I thought. Nope. These were the sourest grapes I'd ever tasted. So much for that. Eventually, I arrived at the correct entrance to the Botanical Gardens, which was no easy feat as half of the signs are wrong. I paid the special exhibit entrance fee, and was super-excited to go see the animatronic dinosaurs! No, I wasn't here to see plants, I had heard about this dino exhibit and was instantly drawn in. Who doesn't love robots? Who doesn't love dinosaurs? And when you put them together- robotic dinosaur- how can you go wrong? It was so not worth it. They had a bunch of large dinosaur models that looked like larger versions of the toys I had growing up. Most of them would periodically move their heads or tails back and forth, and many had speakers nearby playing screaming noises. That's about it. For a kid, maybe it was cool, but I'm not sure that a lot of the kids who walking the park were excited. At least not until the popsicle stand. I thought, "ok, so the dinos were a bust, at least I'll get to see the flowers and botanical stuff." Except that the dino displays were blocking all the paths to where the plants are. So much for that. I exited, tired, hot, a little disappointed, and not upset that I had a meeting in the air conditioning shortly. I moved hotels to the Caesar for a couple of reasons: 1, it was closer to what I wanted to do tomorrow, when there won't be regular public transportation. 2, they have a pool. 3, after my rough work week, I was ready for some air conditioning and relative luxury. 4, I bet they'd have a good breakfast, and 5, did I mention the pool? After moving hotels, I did a quick run at the Mehane Yehuda Market (an overpacked madhouse, as always on Fridays) for dinner, and then returned to my room to relax, have my meeting, and get some work done.

DInos in Jerusalem

DInos in Jerusalem


Pond at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Pond at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

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